I have a close friend, one of my best friends, who is not communicating right now. Have you ever experienced this? Someone who you love, going through something in his or her life and doing so in a private way.
I have tried to communicate with her in every way possible, but my friend clearly wants to be alone. And so I have taken my own advice (isn’t it great when you have to follow your own lectures?!) and decided to simply sit in the experience of the situation. For days now I have made myself sit down, meditate, and experience all aspects of this experience.
It’s been interesting to observe the emotions this has provoked in me:
Fear – does she still love me?
Worry – is she okay?
Sadness – why is she suffering?
Self-righteousness – why is she making me suffer?
I’ve found it impossible to clear my mind of thoughts of my friend. It just doesn’t work. The more I try to focus on not thinking of her, the more the thoughts come … the worry, the fear, and the concern flow in and swirl around the corners of my mind like the water in a toilet bowl, only they don’t flush out, the thoughts just keep spinning around and around and around.
And this has made me re-evaluate some of the advice I have been given about meditation. You know the kind – “empty your mind, sit in stillness, let the thoughts go.” All the sage advice that the experts give us as to what the experience of mediation is meant to be. Only sometimes it’s just not that.
In this case I can’t make the thoughts of a dear friend’s struggle leave my mind—and the truth is I don’t really want to. Care and compassion for my friends is a part of who I am, it’s part of my experience in this lifetime. This morning I had a particularly “interesting” meditation. On top of all of the feelings I have about my friend, I was fighting with myself to be peaceful … how ironic right? This led me to a realization about my meditation practice, why I do it, and what my goal is.
For me, #meditation isn’t about emptying my mind; it’s about filling my #heart.
I’ve realized that for me, meditation isn’t about emptying my mind; it’s about filling my heart. All of the thoughts spinning in my head are part of me, part of my experience as a human. Thinking they should stop only adds more negative thoughts to the pot … and more judgment of myself. And that’s counterproductive because I meditate to experience peace and love. From that realization, all there is to do is relax and love myself.
And with that, I put down my computer, close my eyes, straighten my spine, and quietly begin a loving, kindness meditation for my friend and myself … “May we have peace, may we have love, may we be understood …”
Big hugs of love,